I have a theory, and not a very astute one. The stickier the floors and the cheesier the music, the more likely you are to attract positive attention. The Beyoncé’s and Lucy Lius on the floor shaking it, in fact, like a Polaroid picture, will come Wocka Flocka flaming to your discotheque. But what is it that draws us in to this Nightmare on Coney Street? That’s right, Willow, I’m looking at you! The low prices and flat diet cokes? Or is there something else to it?
Klute, an internationally renowned bad nightclub, draws attention for its admission of being dreadful. It doesn’t pride itself on being the ‘Rich and Famous’ or ‘The #1 Night in [insert University city/town]’. Instead it says, we’re quite bad, your feet will stick to the floor and the music is similar to prime time Smooth Radio. But each week it draws hundreds of students in – because people love it. A member of staff mentioned to me that they’re instructed not to do an adequate job of cleaning the place. They think that this would somehow destroy its character. Which explains why Revs always smells like vomit. Is it true? Does the sticky floor and bad music give it character? In a word, yes. It makes it unique from all the others with their weekend millionaires blowing their bursaries on watered down Grey Goose. It’s honest and embraces a sense of humility, and that’s what we love about these places.
I know what you’re thinking of. Willow. Oh, Willow, how your name leaves a pain in my heart and a piece of chewing gum on my shoe. Willow, with your ever-changing drinks prices and your inaccurate change when I clearly gave you a £20 note that one time. Willow, with your Virtual DJ guy at the front playing that one “put your hands up in the air” loop over and over, and how I dutifully oblige. I think dancing in Willow is emphasized, really, because you have to violently unstick yourself from the floor. But nonetheless, you’ll see us all in there at the end of some poor night elsewhere. Everywhere else is just pre-drinks to Willow. If there is something you can rely on, it’s that Willow will put a massive stamp on your arm that you will only discover the following day.
And Willow has this same character of being strangely brilliant whilst also dreadfully awful. If Plato’s forms exist, then this would be the universal of Oxymoron. And it’s funny, because Salvation tries to pull off the same thing by having a cheesy pop floor at the top. Admittedly, you may find me dancing away singing Abba at the top of my lungs, but not with the same passion or hunger that you’d get in Willow or Klute. This is because underlying the whole of Salvation’s ethos is this false sense of self-worth and exclusivity. The DJs play like it’s Tomorrowland; the bar staff serve like they’re in The Hilton; and the people dance like everybody is watching.
Willow and Klute, by making no attempt at cleaning it, retain this sense of charming honesty that we all recognize and love. In each one of us, there’s an element of Klute and Willow that is only released and expressed in Klute and Willow. Our inner primitive Klute comes out when we’re in there – we dance, as they say, like no-one is watching, sing like nobody is listening, and drink like it’s going out of fashion.
Moreover, clubs like to bring with them a sense of unity and compassion that others don’t. Whereas some pride themselves on being exclusive to one specific university, or being ‘glamarous’ and ‘rich and famous’, Klute and Willow say “you’re 45 and on your third hen do? I’ve got just the song for your imminent divorce!” I can find myself boogying with a pensioner in black and white brogues, or singing with a fellow student who ‘came here because everyone else did’. There’s an accord and harmony that you get nowhere else, and that’s why it’s the best club, rather than the worst. These ratings are probably offered by Made in Chelsea and TOWIE stars who want 2 for £70 and a Wonga-loan-cocktails that have half a drop of cider in them and a skittle at the bottom. “BUT IT’S CALLED A ‘BOMB’ IT MUST BE COOL!”
“The primitive me is released and I forget about it all because I have a unique experience”
Is there a negative aspect to this, though? Should a club provide a service that I’m paying for – like basic cleanliness? Part of me wants to say yes. The frugal side of me is angered that I can be charged £5 to get my shoes somehow muddy indoors and be given incorrect change.
Ultimately, though, the primitive me is released and I forget about it all because what I have received is a unique experience – one that can’t be replicated anywhere else. And that alone, dear reader, is priceless. There are some things money can’t buy; for everything else, there’s Willow.
£5 entry? Here, take £10, and you better not re-invest it in floor sanitizer or real
Willow and Klute are like no other: honest and welcoming.